Bruins score

Five team stats that help explain the Bruins’ success


1. Five on five, the Bruins are scoring 1.73 goals for every goal they give up. The next best team in that category is Chicago, well back at 1.33. This is very similar to what the B’s did in 2011 when they won the Stanley Cup despite a power play that finished at 11.4 percent. Many may have forgotten that the crowd at TD Garden actually started booing the home team in Game 3 of the finals when it couldn’t convert on Aaron Rome’s five-minute major for hitting Nathan Horton late. Boston’s five-on-five ratio for the 2011 postseason finished at 1.82.

2. Boston is 4-2 when the opponent scores first. No other playoff team has a winning record in this category. (Chicago is 3-3.) Whether this points to the Bruins’ belief in their system and their willingness to stick to the plan even when trailing, or if it’s more of a rah-rah, the-Bruins-never-say-die, don’t-poke-the-bear thing, whatever it is, it’s working.

3. The Bruins have won 56.2 percent of their faceoffs. Again, tops among all playoff teams. The importance of faceoffs has been debated, with some arguing they’re not as vital as the publicity the statistic gets suggests. But here’s the thing: if you’re going to take a faceoff, you might as well try to win it. Of note, the Penguins actually won the overall faceoff battle, 51-38, in Game 3. Pittsburgh also scored its only goal of the game off a won draw:

4. Boston is killing penalties at 85.7 percent. Not the best (it’s actually 6th, with Chicago leading at a ridiculous 96.4%), but it’s been perfect (12-for-12) against a Penguins team that came into the Eastern Conference finals practically scoring at will with the man advantage. How Gregory Campbell’s absence will affect the Bruins’ PK will be something to watch. No Boston forward has spent as much time killing penalties (32:04) as Campbell has this postseason.

5. The Bruins are 4-1 in overtime. Their only loss came in Game 4 versus the Rangers. Just like in 2011, if the Bruins hadn’t been successful in sudden death, they wouldn’t have even gotten out of the first round. Call it luck or call it a team that elevates its game when the pressure’s on — it’s probably a bit of both — it’s one more reason the B’s are five wins away from another Cup.

Bruins have struggled in ‘closeout’ opportunities

Bruins versus Pens

For all the good things the Boston Bruins have done in the playoffs in recent years — and there are many — one thing they’ve struggled with is closing out an opponent.

In fact, in the last four years, the Bruins are 7-11 with an opportunity to win a round, as they can tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden.

Granted, four of those 11 losses came in one series against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010, and the Bruins exorcised those demons the next year by winning it all.

This year, though, they very nearly blew a 3-1 series lead versus the Maple Leafs in the first round, and, while this may fall under the category of nitpicking, they couldn’t complete the sweep of the Rangers in the second round.

Naturally, Bruins coach Claude Julien was asked this morning about “another closeout opportunity” and how his team needs to play against a Pens side that will be fighting for its survival.

“I think we know how we need to play,” said Julien. “It’s about bringing it tonight.

“This is about one game. It’s nothing more than about one game, what we need to do here. So we try and minimize all the hoopla around everything and keep it to the one game, how we need to play.

“I mentioned yesterday that we didn’t play our best game last game. They played better. So we need to be a better team tonight.”

For what it’s worth, the last time the Penguins found themselves in an 0-3 hole with Game 4 on the road — in the first round of last year’s playoffs — they hammered the Flyers, 10-3, then went home and won Game 5.

Yes, they still lost the series, but they sure made it interesting.

Bruins confirm Daugavins in for Campbell; Kelly likely to center Merlot Line


Boston head coach Claude Julien has figured out how to replace Gregory Campbell in the lineup for Friday’s Game 4 against the Penguins.

Kaspars Daugavins — who hasn’t played since Game 1 of the Toronto series — will draw into the lineup, Julien confirmed.

Based on the morning skate, the 25-year-old Latvian will play on a line with center Rich Peverley and winger Tyler Seguin, while Chris Kelly skated in Campbell’s place on the “Merlot Line” between Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille.

Daugavins’ insertion is a story, but it’ll be more interesting to see how Boston’s fourth line reacts to the loss of Campbell.

The 29-year-old was in the midst of an excellent playoff, scoring 3G-4A-7PTS in 15 games, sitting third among all forwards in hits (35) while winning over 50 percent of his draws.

The line had combined for 16 points this postseason and had developed some serious chemistry over the last three seasons, allowing head coach Claude Julien to confidently roll all four lines throughout the game.

Which is probably why Julien decided to drop Kelly — a more natural center — down to the Merlot Line, rather than drop Daugavins down (he’s a left winger).

Jagr’s key role in Bruins’ double-OT win is historic

Patrice Bergeron #37 of the Boston Bruins celebrates with Brad Marchand #63 and Zdeno Chara #33 after scoring the game winning goal in overtime to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the TD Garden on June 5, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.
(June 4, 2013 - Source: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America)

At the age of 41 and in his 26th minute of play in double overtime, Jaromir Jagr battled with Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin for the puck along the boards.

He won that fight — although some would argue he should have ended up with a hooking penalty — and that led to Patrice Bergeron’s game-winning goal, 95:19 minutes into the contest.

Bergeron sees Jagr battling along the boards as the perfect example of everyone buying into the Bruins’ system.

“He’s pretty much a legend,” Bergeron said, “he’s a guy that’s going to be in the Hall of Fame at some point, and he’s doing the little thing right there just to fight for the puck, and you notice that as a teammate, and it goes a long way, as I said, and we all need to do that.”

How far the Bruins will get remains to be seen, but Jagr’s efforts in this series are already historic. With three assists in his last two games, Jagr has tied Paul Coffey for fifth place on the NHL’s all-time playoff points leaderboard.

Both players have 196 points, but passing Coffey would probably be the last move he can make on that list. Glenn Anderson’s hold on fourth place with 214 points seems safe for now.

If you want to see Bergeron’s winner and the setup by Jagr, here it is:

Discuss: Bruins beat Pens in double OT


The Boston Bruins didn’t cruise to a 3-o series lead by any means on Wednesday, but the end result was similar: heartache for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The B’s took advantage of some nice plays by Jaromir Jagr and Brad Marchand to set up Patrice Bergeron’s 2-1 goal in double overtime.

Let’s discuss the game.

  • Tomas Vokoun was excellent, but he still lost. Should the Penguins stick with him as they face a possible sweep in Game 4 on Friday?
  • Speaking of strong goaltending, Tuukka Rask was nothing short of incredible, stopping 54 shots. He’s only allowed two goals in three games (and almost 11 periods) of hockey against the NHL’s top-scoring team. Can the Bruins even afford him at this point? (At least he’s a restricted free agent instead of an unrestricted one.)
  • Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin remain pointless in this series, but both made impacts at times. Are they goats to you regardless?
  • On the subject of whipping boys, Kris Letang had a much better night. Which of the Penguins’ big three showed the most improvement?
  • David Krejci continues to strengthen his scoring lead. Where does he rank among NHL forwards in your mind now?
  • Jaromir Jagr seemed to keep getting stronger in the contest. Does he have what it takes to keep playing beyond this season?
  • Which Bruins deserve more credit than they’re receiving? To some extent, the top stories are still about the Penguins’ shortcomings.
  • Do you give Pittsburgh any chance to come back?